The Emmet Cohen Trio
It was Super Bowl Sunday…but who cares when you can listen to GREAT JAZZ! Twenty something Emmet Cohen & Company blew our socks off with their exciting renditions of jazz standards, but done in a new, refreshing manner. Fresh from New York and on the first leg of their tour, the guys showed us what they are made of. It was easy to see how much fun they were having with all the tunes starting off with Dardanella, an old standard written in 1919. Pianist, and leader, Emmet Cohen showed us his flawless technique and bassist, Russell Hall and drummer, Kyle Poole picked right up on Cohen’s ever changing ideas and tempos. it was hard to tell how much of the tunes were set arrangements or improvised.
Whatever was planned or not, they were all on the same page! Our President, Peter Clark, quipped that the players were so young that he’s older than all of them put together. Evidently they all live in close proximity in Harlem and play together often. While in SOhO’s Green Room, bassist, Russell Hall got a call from his sometimes boss, Winton Marsalis, so you can see that we are talking about accomplished musicians here.
One of my favorites of the afternoon was an Ellington medley which started super slow with a great groove with an Latin interlude in the middle morphing into stride piano in It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got the Swing. As my friend Debbie Denke remarked, “They tell a story with every tune.” A wistful Darn That Dream segued into Fats Waller’s Keepin’ Out of Mischief Now, Two Sleepy People, Ain’t Misbehavin’ and ending with Honeysuckle Rose. Many of the numbers started our slow but morphed into breakneck speed before the tune ended. Using humor, changing dynamics, and having fun with their music was apparent, but so was their flawless technique and great originality. The trio earned a unanimous standing ovation and President, Peter Clark asked them to come back next month and the following month and the ones following! It was an amazing afternoon and I guarantee you that no one left early to see the game!